Worst admiral of all time

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RF
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Worst admiral of all time

Postby RF » Mon Apr 28, 2008 12:42 pm

After Karl's thread on the world's greatest admiral, lets now have a thread on the worst.

My nomination would be the Duke of Medina Sedonia, the commander of the 1588 Spanish Armada.
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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:51 pm

RF:

I believe that guy was a victim of his own commander, the King Phillip II, who as I recall was quite inept, but nevertheless an incompetent.

There are other "worthy" candidates:

The russian admirals that fought against the Japanese in 1905:

Stepan Osipovich Makarov
Wilgelm Vitgeft
Zinovy Rozhestvensky
Nikolai Nebogatov


Specially the bottom two who were responsible for the utter defeat at Tsushima against Japanese super admiral Togo.

The we have another guys not worth to the admiral title:

Ali Pasha Commander of the Islamic Fleet at Lepanto
Marc Anthony loser at Actium
Gunther Lutjens The guy that didn´t gave the order to fire back at DS, who gave PoW a second chance and after that lost Bismarck
Chuichi Nagumo For many (including Japanese heroes as Fuchida) he was responsible of the utter defeat at Midway

Or this trio that managed to lose the Battle of Salamis with a quite superior force against the weak Greek forces rallied against them:

Xerxes I of Persia,
Artemisia I of Caria,
Ariamenes


But for me, the King of Kings in utter stupidity, negligence and incompetence is, no other than:

Pierre Villeneuve who managed to lost the Spanish Fleet and the so called French Fleet against a numerical inferior enemy

Yes, this guy has to be Number One Worst Admiral ever forever: Villeneuve and the burden of the mosts tragic naval defeat of all times to the so called French Fleet...


Kind regards...
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RF
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby RF » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:24 am

My nomination of the commander of the Spanish Armada was based on the cack handed plan for the invasion of England, which involved sailing up the Channel and picking up the invading troops from the Spanish Netherlands to invade Kent!!!

Considering that the entire south-west of England was undefended, the Duke could have landed an army at Falmouth and Penzance in Cornwall without any opposition, then have intercepted and picked off the English ships as they came out of Plymouth to meet him.... and English and probably world history would have been very different.

In fact the Spanish did land at Penzance in 1594, and were there for several weeks before the authorities in London even knew about it! That episode incidently was the last attempted seaborne invasion of England by a hostile foreign power, a fact almost entirely excluded from the history books here.
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby irving1941 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 3:23 am

Yep. Pierre Villeneve does it. No doubt at all. Oh, Pierre, the failure was so terrible...

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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby Legend » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:39 pm

Hitler, he was the worst naval commander atleast... absolutely no smarts on how to run a navy at all. If he had listened to his advisors he might have defeated Britain before we (USA) got involved. If he had sucessfully gotten the Graf Zepplin, Peter Strasser, Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gniesenau, Lutzow, Scheer, Graf Spee, Hipper, Prinz Eugen, Blucher, Seydlitz, and the other smaller cruisers out in the Atlantic, he could have sucessfully starved and pummeled Britain into submission with help from the two carriers. He admitted himself that he was a coward at sea and therefore never could understand the full complexity of naval operations. He should have fired Goering and gotten some adequate and productive air force commanders. With those two carriers he could have torpedoes and dive bombed the British BB's, and left the surface raiders unhindered by their RN counterparts. Hitler was never an admiral, but he was in my mind, the worst naval commander in history.
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby RF » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:47 pm

And not just naval commander either, his record on land and in the air were not that impressive.

The biggest failure here was a lack of proper strategic planning for a war against Britain, and ultimately the USA. But here the Kaiser made the same mistake before Hitler - and he did have a big fleet.
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby lwd » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:57 pm

Legend wrote:Hitler, he was the worst naval commander atleast... absolutely no smarts on how to run a navy at all.

In his defence I'm not sure he ever claimed to be.
If he had listened to his advisors he might have defeated Britain before we (USA) got involved.

Again my impression is that he did lissen to them and defeating Britain was beyond what Germany was capable of in 1940.
If he had sucessfully gotten the Graf Zepplin, Peter Strasser, Bismarck, Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, Gniesenau, Lutzow, Scheer, Graf Spee, Hipper, Prinz Eugen, Blucher, Seydlitz, and the other smaller cruisers out in the Atlantic, he could have sucessfully starved and pummeled Britain into submission with help from the two carriers.

If he could have acomplished this he could have conqured the world without military action. However even if he had gotten all of them to sea it's not clear that the KM would have done a lot more than loose a lot of assets while sinking a few merchants.
He should have fired Goering and gotten some adequate and productive air force commanders. With those two carriers he could have torpedoes and dive bombed the British BB's, and left the surface raiders unhindered by their RN counterparts. Hitler was never an admiral, but he was in my mind, the worst naval commander in history.

With those two carriers the British would just have had a couple more high priority targets for what would probably have been a short period of time. Indeed the Kaiser did worse with a much more favorable situation.

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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby chcrawfish » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:54 am

Despite what Fuchida wrote (most of his writings are debunked in Tully and Parshall's Shattered Sword), Nagumo's actions at Midway were only surpassed in lack of brilliance by his failure to launch waves 3 and 4 at Pearl Harbor. Put Halsey or Mitscher in his place in those two battles and the differences would be astounding.
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby lwd » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:32 pm

chcrawfish wrote:... Nagumo's actions at Midway were only surpassed in lack of brilliance by his failure to launch waves 3 and 4 at Pearl Harbor.

While I'd hardly call it brilliant not launcheing waves 3 & 4 at PH it wasn't a bad decision and certainly a wave 4 on the 7th would have been a very bad idea.
Put Halsey or Mitscher in his place in those two battles and the differences would be astounding.

Possibly but it's hardly as clear as you seam to think.

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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby Bgile » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:28 pm

I wouldn't be quite so hard on Nagumo. His actions were at least partly a result of previous success and complete disdain for US ability. Poor choices in hindsight, but anyone can win battles with hindsight. IIRC Shattered Sword points out the lack of a two phase search as possibly his greatest error.

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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby lwd » Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:45 pm

Bgile wrote:.... IIRC Shattered Sword points out the lack of a two phase search as possibly his greatest error.

But I believe it also points out that this didn't become doctrine until well after Midway and as a result of Midway. One of the problems is that Japanese doctrine relied on using cruiser aircraft to scout and not CV aircraft which were held back for strike duties. The fact that he followed a flawed doctrine may be useable when argueing against him being the best or even very good. However it really doesn't hold up when argueing he was the worst. Note also that there was suppose to be a submarnine line in place that also should have spotted the US CVs. The fact that it wasn't in place in time is not at all his fault that goes either latterally or up the line or both.

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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby Bgile » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:30 pm

Yes, and also scouting at French Frigate Shoals which was stopped by a US presence there. There were a lot of things which could have bailed out Nagumo which didn't come to pass, but that's the way war is.

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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby RF » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:20 am

Legend wrote:Hitler, he was the worst naval commander atleast... absolutely no smarts on how to run a navy at all.... Hitler was never an admiral, but he was in my mind, the worst naval commander in history.


Maybe - but it was also Hitler who conceived of invading Norway before the British completely mined its coastline, and pushed the KM into carrying out an invasion of the whole country. Also Hitler had the sense to cancel Sea Lion when it was clear that there would be RAF as well as RN opposition.

Hitler also made the decision not to risk the big ships in Atlantic operations after Rheinubung, and to bring the twins as well as PE back to Germany via the English Channel.

So not all of Hitler's naval decisions were wrong.
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby Legend » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:18 pm

From a German standpoint, I think the decision to go through with Operation Cerberus (I spell that right?) was a grave mistake. To win a war you have to have your soldiers on the front lines, to make your navy flee and not continue to attack convoys was a bad decision. Under a new commander, one who knew how to use Radar and be agressive, The Twins could have doubles their damage to Britain before the end of the war, along with Tirpitz... If they could get her out there...
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Re: World's worst admiral

Postby lwd » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:12 pm

The problem they had with the Twins at Brest is that they were constantly being attacked by the RAF. They weren't operational for a good portion of the time there. Given that pulling them back is not all that bad of idea. Also with the increase in long range coastal command air craft and the US in the game the probability of them makinging it into the Atlantic went down considerably as did the chance of surviving once there much less finding targets.


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